Strategic Teams – Beyond the Obvious
Most organizations have experience with teams at different levels, with different team charters. That experience ranges from great, to challenging, to not so great. Trust, energy and power, the essential elements that drive competence and confidence, tend to weave in and out of the success stories that go with teams and strategic programs. Today’s strategy work — meaning the direction, integration and execution of strategy — is naturally dependent on teams.
So far, so good. But what about the development of these strategic teams?
The Kind of “Strategic Teams” We Need
Our research for Teams and Development provided a set of lenses for looking at the needs of organizations, and the nature of strategic teams. Organizations need strong talent supply chains, focused cultures and effective collaboration. They need everyday influence, Learning and Development pathways, smart aspirations, the power of conversation, attention and maze sense. They need perspective and common sense, a sense of change, and a sense for navigation. Sure, these needs are factored into leadership and management, but not without intention and not without full engagement. Not without a mindset that embraces the essentials of Teams and Development.
Where to Start [or Reset] with Teams
Cutting through all the noise on teams and strategy leadership, we have the frequently-cited problems of teams and communication, teams and coordination, teams and conflict, teams and confidence, teams and shared competence. Problems with shared and connected knowledge, teams and diversity, teams and the capacity of people to make strategy happen. Here is a way to start moving in a better, smarter, stronger, faster and more effective manner:
- Make Sure That People and Teams “Get” the Strategic Agenda
Find every reasonable way to shape stakeholder attention to, and awareness of, the strategic agenda. Help people understand the why/what/who of the whole strategy picture.
- Make Sure that Talent on Teams is Matched to Strategy Teams
The right people with diverse capabilities and the team behaviors that sync with needs, team members that bring out the very best in others.
- Make Sure that Teams are a Cornerstone of Culture
Assure that teams mesh with enterprise values and objectives, priorities and resources, readiness, attention and resilience, appetite for success on both offense and defense. Consistent, with resolve.
Effective, powerful strategically-inspired teams do not appear out of nowhere, through some strange alchemy, or hope or visions. The power of teams is constructed, engaged, supported and sustained with dedicated work on Teams and Development. The cause-and-effect of deliberate team development starts with the organization’s commitment to a roadmap that puts teams at the center of making strategy happen. Teams then become the agents of strategy.
The ideas defined above are the subject of our new field book entitled Teams and Development planned for release at the end of the year. The field book is designed as a resource for individuals and teams at every level of the enterprise. From every angle, Teams and Development speaks to the ideas that contribute to better, stronger, smarter, faster teams that are focused on results, and on making strategy happen, taking care of today and getting ready for tomorrow.
Daniel Wolf is the President of Dewar Sloan, a consulting group with expertise in strategy and governance. He is the author of Teams and Development — as well as Prepared and Resolved: The Strategic Agenda for Growth, Performance and Change.